Making History Blog

Many of these articles have been published in the Mendocino Beacon’s Kelley House Calendar.

Paving Our Ways

Paving Our Ways

Concrete Sidewalks Come to Mendocino

by Karen McGrath and Carol Dominy This charming photograph, taken by our very own Mendocino photographer, Perley Maxwell, captures a group of friends, family, and neighbors on Christmas Day, 1906.  (Emery Escola Collection, Kelley House Museum) At the front, the smiling man on the left with beard and bowler is Dr. Frank Peirsol. Behind him stands Henry Jarvis, co-owner of the Jarvis & Nichols general store on the corner of Kasten and Main Streets (Gallery Bookstore today) and also[... see full page]

The Bad Oysters Incident

The Bad Oysters Incident
Vintage Can of Oysters (Polished Pebble) The facts of the case are mostly undisputed. The only question that remains unanswered is whether saloon owner J. W. Barton was intoxicated when he fired his gun at Joseph M. Garvin, missing his head “by the fraction of an inch.”Joe was the proprietor of “Mendocino’s Cheap Cash Store,” a general merchandise establishment on Lansing Street, located where GoodLife Café & Bakery is today. Between 1902 and 1909, his store carried a wide variety of[... see full page]

Schools with an Ocean View

Schools with an Ocean View
At the Kelley House we were given a photograph with no caption, showing a teacher standing in front of a one-room schoolhouse with her students. But where is this place? The background was open clear sky which led us to believe it was a coastal school on a bluff, but which one? And how many coastal view schools were there? Turns out there were close to 30 of them on our county coastline, and here they are, north to south. The[... see full page]

Railroads and Timberlands

Railroads and Timberlands
How many readers are aware that Southern Pacific Railroad owned a good chunk of the land between the Albion and Navarro Rivers out to Comptche? No, the company wasn’t planning to build an extension of their railroad on this land…they needed timber. Did you know Southern Pacific Railroad once owned a chunk of the county and would be happy to sell logged-over lands in 1940? Shown: detail of just the Comptche area from the 1940 map, “Southern Pacific Land Company Lands[... see full page]

An Ocean View House

An Ocean View House
Recently, the Kelley House received an email from a woman named Heather requesting any history we might have on a house located at 11275 Lansing Street. We love questions like this, as we’ve been collecting information on structures and the people who occupied them for almost 50 years, and we’re eager to share what we have. But we were stumped. The inquirer called it “the McCloud House.” Database and file searching revealed no such house or persons of that name in[... see full page]

Talking With … Richie Silvera in 2000

Talking With … Richie Silvera in 2000
We want to share once again some excerpts from the oral history project that was created back in 2000 by the students of Ryan Olson Day’s Options Class at the Mendocino Middle School. With the help of Steven Jordan and a grant obtained by Deena Zarlin, they made audio recordings of their interviews with 12 “Old Timers,” who told the kids what it was like living here on the Coast in the first part of the 20th century. Richie’s interview was[... see full page]